On December 27, 2016, the 60-year old driver of an Avalon sedan suddenly crossed over the center line on Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim. The driver seemed to have suffered a medical crisis, causing him to lose control of the car, which then collided headlong into an Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA) bus, killing the driver of the car and injuring dozens of bus passengers. At least 14 OCTA bus passengers were hospitalized following the accident.
Unfortunately, bus accidents like this happen often. Sometimes, such as in the incident described above, not much could have prevented the accident. In other instances, however, accidents are avoidable. Negligent driving, DUI, poor bus maintenance, and improper bus driver training cause bus accidents every year. Sometimes, an OCTA bus driver just makes a mistake. For instance, in March of 2016, six OCTA bus passengers were hospitalized after the bus they were riding in slammed into a concrete embankment in Newport Beach.
Common Types of Bus Accident Injuries
Both bus passengers and others on the road can suffer serious injuries as a result of a bus accident. Because buses are so large, bus accidents can be particularly devastating for other commuters or pedestrians on the road. Typical injuries include the following:
- Head, neck, and back injuries. The most common types of injuries caused by bus crashes are head and back injuries. When a crash suddenly halts movement, the passengers’ heads jolt forward, often striking the steering wheel, seat, or window in front of them. The sudden stop can cause a concussion or even traumatic brain injury. The abruptness of the stop can also cause neck whiplash, misalignment of the spinal cord, or a herniated disc in a person’s back. In severe cases, neck and back injuries can cause nerve damage.
- Chest injuries. Less common but equally serious are injuries caused by trauma to the chest area. Accidents sometimes cause broken ribs, internal bleeding, or even collapsed lungs due to the impact.
- Emotional distress. Emotional harm, such as PTSD or the pain of disfigurement, are also common bus accident injuries.
- Death. The worst outcome. But surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim to ease the financial burden of the loss.
Victims Are Entitled to Compensation
Whatever the facts of a case, and whatever the particular type of injury suffered, innocent victims of bus accidents are entitled to compensation. If you rely on the OCTA for your transportation, you have a right to safety and security. The OCTA owes each of its passengers a special duty of care. Similarly, all drivers on the road, including OCTA bus drivers, owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road. Finally, the OCTA itself owes passengers and other commuters a duty to properly maintain their buses and properly evaluate and train their drivers.
When car drivers, OCTA bus drivers, or OCTA administrators breach their duties and cause an accident, they owe compensation to the victims of that accident.
Proving Fault Can Be Complex
Proving fault in a bus crash case can require a close examination of the crash scene, testimony from eyewitnesses, and an investigation of bus video cameras and bus GPS systems. Victims should immediately take steps to preserve any evidence held by OCTA or other drivers.
Not only is gathering evidence a complicated endeavor, but bus accidents can be legally complex as well. Local, state, and sometimes even federal laws may all be applicable. Numerous actors may be at fault.
An Experienced Lawyer Can Help
It is crucial for accident victims to rely on an experienced bus accident attorney to get the compensation they deserve. An experienced bus crash attorney can help victims gather and present the evidence effectively to maximize the chances of fair compensation.
Bus crash lawyer Scott D. Hughes is a tireless advocate for the rights of accident victims. He has experience handling a variety of personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases. Scott serves clients in Orange County and Los Angeles County. For more information or to discuss your case, contact the Law Offices of Scott D. Hughes today for a free consultation at 714-423-6928.